The Heatwave Plan for England is intended to protect the population from heat-related harm to health. Advice has been updated to include risks and precautions in relation to COVID-19.
COVID-19 – Heatwave Plan for England
The Heatwave and Summer preparedness programme becomes operational on Monday 1 June to raise both public and professional awareness of the health impacts of hot weather, including severe heat.
An episode of hot weather represents a concurrent risk to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic due to the following:
- several individual risk factors are shared across both hazards
- more people will need to stay at home and potentially be exposed to high indoor temperatures
- capacity across care services (e.g. domiciliary care, care homes) may be further stretched by increased need for those who are dependent on others.
Those with a role in heatwave planning and response are asked to consider the implications of hot weather on vulnerable groups including those who may be at greater risk because they are shielding or self-isolating, and the impact of public health measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on local heatwave plans and workforce planning.
New resources and a slide pack outlining the risks of COVID-19 and hot weather (published 27 May 2020) can be found on the Heatwave Plan for England collection page.
The Government's Heatwave plan for England aims to prepare for, alert people to, and prevent, the major avoidable effects on health during periods of severe heat in England.
It recommends a series of steps to reduce the risks to health from prolonged exposure to severe heat for:
- the NHS, local authorities, social care, and other public agencies
- professionals working with people at risk
- individuals, local communities and voluntary groups
The heatwave plan has been published annually since 2004, following the devastating panEuropean heatwave in 2003. This year’s plan builds on many years of experience of developing and improving the ability of the health sector and its partners to deal with significant periods of hot weather.
There are also three resources to help you protect residents.
- ‘Beat the Heat' poster: an infographic for the public with key advice for staying safe in hot weather
- ‘Beat the Heat' supporting leaflet: detailed information for the public about how to stay safe in hot weather
- ‘Beat the Heat: keep cool at home – checklist': a checklist to help people identify situations where overheating in the home may cause harm to health, the actions to take, and how to access further help and support. This resource is aimed at members of the public as well as frontline workers (for example, health and social care staff)
The plan is a key component of emergency planning and is increasingly relevant in adapting to climate change. It provides advice for professionals, organisations, and individuals to enable them to plan for and respond to heatwaves.
A copy of the plan and its associated supporting documents is available on the PHE website.